Bighorn National Forest, WY Three Civil Air Patrol Members Killed When Their CAP Cessna 182R Crashes During Search For Missing Teen, Aug 2007

James Roscoe Meyer II grave James Roscoe Meyer II grave

Three people died in Wyoming when a Civil Air Patrol plane crashed during a search for a missing teen who was found alive an hour after the mishap.

SHELL (AP) — Three members of Wyoming's Civil Air Patrol, out searching for a missing teen, were killed when their plane crashed in the Bighorn National Forest, authorities said Tuesday.
The plane went down Monday evening, August 20, 2007, as the crew searched for a teen who disappeared the day before while fishing. On Tuesday, rescuers reached the remote crash site and recovered the bodies of the crew members, said Jeanne Stone-Hunter, spokeswoman for Civil Air Patrol's Wyoming Wing.
The pilot of the Cessna 182R was identified Tuesday night as Lt. Col. James Henderson, 59, of Cowley. The two passengers were Senior Member James Meyer, 53, of Sheridan; and Capt. Patricia Larson, 52, of Sheridan, Stone-Hunter said.
Henderson last made radio contact with another pilot in the area at about 4 p.m. Monday, she said. The missing teen, Keith Bellack, 16, of Gillette, was found alive about an hour later, although his condition was not immediately known.
The Civil Air Patrol plane left the Sheridan airport about 1:30 p.m. Monday for a two-hour search mission. When it failed to return, the Civil Air Patrol alerted the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and a search for the plane began, Stone-Hunter said.
About 7:30 p.m. Monday, a U.S. Forest Service helicopter responding to reports of a wildfire spotted the wreckage.
"The aircraft was destroyed by fire," said Allen Kenitzer, a spokesman with the Federal Aviation Administration.
The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board were investigating.
FAA records show the plane was built in 1980 and registered to the Alabama Civil Air Patrol. The Civil Air Patrol's national headquarters is located at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama.
The plane was based out of Cowley, about 50 miles northwest of Shell, and had received a recent maintenance check, although Stone-Hunter did not know the exact date.
"It hadn't been too long ago," she said. "All our planes get pretty regular routine maintenance and engine checks."
The Civil Air Patrol is a nonprofit U.S. Air Force auxiliary organization that performs 95 percent of the nation's inland search and rescue operations, according to its Web site. The group has about 56,000 members nationwide, including more than 250 in Wyoming, and also specializes in aerospace education.

- AP, August 22, 2007


National Transportation Safety Board Issues Probable Cause On Wyoming CAP Downing - Says Turbulence, Low Visibility Likely Factors:
The National Transportation Safety Board released its Probable Cause report this week on the downing last year (August 20, 2007) of a Wyoming Civil Air Patrol Cessna 182R. The Probable Cause Report was adopted as of January 31, and states strong winds and low visibility were factors in the August 20, 2007 mishap.
As ANN reported, pilot James Henderson, 59, and crew members James Meyer, 53, and Patricia Larson, 52, were killed in the crash. They were flying in search of a missing 16-year-old male, who was later found unharmed.
Witnesses told investigators they saw the CAP aircraft flying at an estimated 400 to 600 feet off the ground, nearly 2,000 feet lower than what was called for in the prevailing conditions.
Weather reports for that day show gusts up to 25 miles per hour. "Mission procedures state that the pilot should adjust the search altitude based upon the winds aloft -- 10 knots of wind results in an addition of 1,000 feet to the search altitude and 20 knots of wind results in an addition of 2,000 feet to the search altitude. The pilot reported on his mission planning statement that his search altitude would be 1,000 feet." reads the NTSB report.
Smoke from wildfires contributed to the low visibility, reports the safety board, which combined with the winds likely contributed to the loss of control. Turbulence below 14,000 feet was advised for the entire area, according to a NOTAM included in weather briefings for August 20.
"The pilot's inability to maintain aircraft control while maneuvering in mountainous terrain due to gusty wind conditions, and lee side turbulence," ruled the NTSB. "Contributing to the accident was the pilot's improper in-flight planning and decision making, and his failure to follow operational procedures regarding altitudes flown."
The Civil Air Patrol operates a fleet of 580 single engine piston aircraft from 52 Wing locations across the nation. All CAP crews are trained and operate over 90 percent of inland search and rescue missions.
The aircraft in the accident received its last inspection in September 2006, according to the NTSB, and had 3492.6 hours total airframe time.

- Aero News Network

More info from the CAP News -


Lt. Col. James "Jim" Harold Henderson, 59, died Aug. 20, 2007, on the east side of the Big Horn Mountains while piloting a Civil Air Patrol plane on a search mission for a 16-year-old boy.

He was born June 18, 1948, in Knoxville, Tenn. He had lived in Cowley for 10 years.

He graduated from Coffee High School in Florence, Ala., and attended Kodaikanal School in Kodaikanal, India. He graduated from the University of North Alabama as an honor graduate in ROTC. He received a master of science degree from the University of Southern California.

He was retired from the active and reserve Army. He was sworn into active service in 1971 by Brig. Gen. George Patton, III, at Fort Knox, Ky. He served in Frankfort, Germany, 3rd Armored Division, in the Persian Gulf War as an area officer for Asia and was a military attache in Nepal in 1994 for which he received the Defense Meritorious Service Medal.

Jim was a self-employed businessman and highly trained, seven-year veteran of the Civil Air Patrol. He served as a search and rescue officer, counter-drug officer, flight release officer, mission check pilot, cadet orientation pilot, SAR/DR mission pilot, transport mission pilot and moral leadership instructor for the Wyoming Wing.

He was an Eagle Scout, president of the Officers Christian Fellowship and former member of First Baptist Church in Knoxville, and Florence, Ala.

He loved the outdoors, traveling and singing but his true love was helping people. He died doing two things he loved most - helping someone and flying a plane. As a Christian, one of his favorite Bible verses was John 3:16.

He is survived by his parents Dr. Harold (Al) Henderson and Joanna McCammon Henderson of Florence, daughters Jeannette Henderson of Lansing, Mich., Joanne Henderson of Grand Rapids, Mich., son Joshua Henderson of Ann Arbor, Mich., ex-wife Jane Henderson of Oscoda, Mich., sister Elizabeth (B. James) Harwell of Auburn, Ala., and special friends Lt. Col. Edward Yielding of Florence, Capts. Donald and Shelley McCracken of Cowley and Peter Vellenga of Boyne, Mich.

He was preceded in death by his grandparents T. Presley and Vesta Stout Henderson of Leoma, Tenn., and James McCammon and Pearl McCroskey McCammon of Knox County, Tenn.

Memorial services were Aug. 27 at Glad Tidings Assembly of God and Aug. 28 at Champion Ferries Funeral Home in Sheridan.

Burial with full military honors will be at McCammon Cemetery in Knoxville.


James R. Meyer II
SHERIDAN, Wyo. --Chief Warrant Officer 4 James R. Meyer II, 53, of Sheridan died Monday, Aug. 20, 2007, in a plane crash in the Big Horn Mountains while flying as a co-pilot on a search and rescue mission flight with the Civil Air Patrol. Mr. Meyer was born Oct. 21, 1953, in Kansas City, Kan., to John Arthur and Rachel Anne (Evans) Meyer. He grew up and attended school across the country, graduating from Morris Hills High School in New Jersey. Jim received his bachelor's degree from Radford University in Radford, Va., in 1977, and had worked toward a master's degree at Radford before joining the U.S. Air Force. Jim also served in the U.S. Army and the Army National Guard in various locations as an Apache Helicopter maintenance test pilot. Mr. Meyer was site manager for DynCorp in Europe/Netherlands project from 1996 to 2000. He then worked for Metro Aviation/North West MedStar in Spokane, Wash., as an emergency medical service pilot from 2000 to 2002. Jim went to the Middle East with the U.S. Army Reserves/DynCorp as a test pilot/instructor in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2002 to 2004. He then returned to the United States and flew for Wyoming Life Flight in Casper, Wyo., and at the time of his death, was employed by Big Horn Airways of Sheridan. Jim Meyer and Terese Powers were married Aug. 30, 2003, in Coeur d' Alene, Idaho. He was a member of the Civil Air Patrol, the National Guard, an honorary member of the National Cattlemen's Association, and Search and Rescue. Jim enjoyed fishing, camping, canoeing, adventures, and especially enjoyed spending time with his family and friends. He is survived by his wife, Terese of Sheridan; two sons, James Justin Meyer of Casper, Wyo., and Ryan Kane Campbell of Las Cruces, N.M.; four daughters, Carissa Meyer Irvin of Alexandria, Va., Cynthia Rachel Meyer of Austin, Texas, Heidi Kristina Meyer and Taea Kristin Campbell, both of Sheridan; two sisters, Racheal Ann Alexander and Brenda Rose Chew; and three grandchildren. A funeral service will be held Saturday at 11 a.m. at Olivet Christian Church on Whitesburg Road in Eden. Friends may call an hour prior to the service. Interment will be in Olivet Christian Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the James R. Meyer Family Fund, First Interstate Bank, 4 South Main, PO Box 2007, Sheridan, Wyo. 82801. Local arrangements are being handled by Hinman Funeral Hom in Princess Anne.

Obituary, Daily News, August 29, 2007.